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Exhibition of animals licence

If you keep or train animals for display or public performance, you must have an Exhibition of animals licence.

This includes:

  • animals in a circus, television or film production, or a theatre performance
  • animals on display at events or parties 

Risk assessment

Before we can approve your licence, we will risk assess your premises, and how you look after the animals in your care. To pass this assessment, you must meet the conditions listed in the The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018. Defra have issued guidance (below) to help you understand these conditions.

Defra's guidance

See Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA): animal licensing guidance and select the guidance notes for the licence you are applying for.


The fee for an Exhibition of animals licence is £335. This is for a three-year licence. You pay this when you apply. You may need to pay extra vets fees, but we'll discuss this with you before we complete your risk assessment. The fee for a renewal is £265.

Apply for a licence

As part of the licence application, we need a valid Basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate which has been completed within the last 28 days. The purpose of this DBS check is to show to the council that the applicant is a fit and proper person to be the operator of that activity. Also, in line with Regulation 11 of The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018, that you do not have any criminal convictions that would prevent you from applying to hold the relevant licence.

You can Request a basic DBS check on the website.

Once the disclosure check is complete and you have received your certificate, please enclose a copy of it to your online application.

    What happens next?

    When we receive your application, we'll arrange to visit your home or premises to complete our assessment. After this assessment, we'll write to you to let you know if your licence application has been successful.

    If your application is not successful, we will include the reasons why in our letter.

    If you are unhappy with our decision

    If we do not issue a licence, and you wish to appeal this decision, contact First-tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber) to launch an appeal. For more information about the appeal process, and the form you'll need to complete, see General Regulatory Chamber's Notice of appeal form and guidance.


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